Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gleaning From “Numb3rs”

Is it ironic that a “scientific” TV show, appreciated by skeptics, is also one of my favorite shows -- and that I’ve gotten so much esoteric-Fortean use out of the show?

Numb3rs is a favorite show of mine. I like the combination of mystery, crime solving, science and mysticism. It’s also set in L.A., where I was born and raised, and I like the three lead mensch-like characters.

Besides entertaining me, Numb3rs has given me a bit of inspiration three times now for my esoteric writing. Awhile ago, I wrote an article about semantics and perceptions of UFOs, and used an example from a Numb3rs episode. In that example, the main character Don Epps, FBI agent, said, of UFOs: (paraphrasing)
“We don’t know what a UFO looks like, so how do we know one when we see one?”
That line inspired me to write several articles on the topics of UFO semantics and definitions, as well as denial and debunkery. (See my American Chronicle articles for more.)

In another episodes, the character Charlie Epps (Don’s younger, math genius brother) told his crime solving colleagues to “throw on more data.” The team was not making any progress in trying to solve a case; “throw in more data” was the solution. By including more data, the character explained, more patterns, more information, will be revealed, and the agents would get closer to solving the crime. That was the inspiration for a column I wrote recently for UFO Magazine: Throw On More Data:
What got me thinking about the UFO phenomena in light of Numb3rs was what the character Charlie (young math professor genius) said to an FBI agent when the agent asked for help in solving a mystery. No matter how many times the agent went over the data he had, he just couldn’t figure it out, yet he knew he could, knew there was an answer. If only he had the right formula, or was shown some way to get at it. The math genius told him to “throw in more data.”

Throw in more data. And by doing so, said the character, we can begin to see a “connectivity” between the clues that will lead the agent to his solution.

Throw in more data. And yet that what much of UFOlogy doesn’t do. We don’t see a “connectivity” because we’re divided, we argue, -- we downright fight and attack at times (forget the skeptoids,sometimes we’re our own worst enemies) -- we pick a theory or two and stick with it. More data, especially data that throws us off, is rejected. After all this time, we’re still arguing over nuts and bolts versus an ETH, or an ultra terrestrial theory. ~ (UFO Magazine, 2007)

This past Friday’s episode, about a serial rapist, served as another inspiration. It turned out the rapist had a MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph infection) STD. One of the agents, in explaining MRSA to her co-workers, said (again paraphrasing)
“There’s only one type of antibiotic that can kill it, but doctor’s don’t want to give it out.”
That line had me thinking about my own MRSA infection, the disconnects and jangled messages from various sources -- including doctors -- and so I wrote an article about MRSA and Morgellons and this oppositional juxtaposition in MRSA and Morgellons: Jangled Messages.(Hopefully it will be up at Book of Thoth in a day or two.)

So, thanks Numb3rs for your contributions to my continued inspiration!

Image credits:

American Chronicle

UFO Magazine

Book of Thoth

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